MALAWI HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
MONITORING OF THE 2004 PRESIDENTIAL AND PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
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The Malawi Human Rights Commission hereby informs the Malawian populace that it has followed with keen interest and noted with concern at the manner in which the 2004 Presidential and Parliamentary electoral processes have been conducted hitherto. The Commission has observed that there are many irregularities that have been raised by various electoral stakeholders at various stages of the electoral process which have gone unattended. The irregularities range from the registration of voters, verification of the voters' roll, primaries for respective political parties, nomination of Presidential and Parliamentary candidates to the ongoing campaign period. These irregularities pose a challenge to the electoral process with respect to the need for free and fair elections.
In pursuance of the Commission's mandate of promoting and protecting civil, political, economic, social, cultural and developmental rights as enshrined in the 1994 Republican Constitution, the Malawi Human Rights Commission will monitor closely the remaining part of the electoral process and come up with an independent and substantive report relating to the fairness and freeness of the results.
This is an important exercise in the consolidation of our hard won democracy and the result will affec:t the rights of Malawians. As such the Malawi Human Rights Commission calls upon the nation to assist it with any relevant information relating to the electoral process that it can use in coming up with this independent report.
The Commission will deploy electoral monitors throughout the country to participate in the polling, counting and tabulation of the voting results and at the same time monitor the various activities that will take place during the polling day to ensure that the various stakeholders are abiding by the existing electoral laws and code of conduct. The Commission also calls upon all Malawians to take time to read through and listen to the statements that it will be disseminating through the media in Malawi and take heed of the contents.
The Commission expresses its gratitude to its cooperating partners who are providing financial assistance through a programme support (PSD) that is coordinated by UNDP. This support has made it possible for the Commission to carry out a number of activities, among them the following:
The Commission urges all political parties and independent candidates and their supporters to refrain from any violence or any statements or actions that may incite violence. Political pluralism is a right that is safeguarded by the Supreme Law of this land and discrimination and intolerance of one kind or another on account of differences in political opinion is also not accepted in Malawian Law. The Commission wishes to inform all stakeholders that violation of any rights is an offence in Malawi. As a constitutionally established institution charged with the duty and responsibility of protecting and promoting human rights in this country, The Commission shall use all its powers and all existing channels to safeguard these rights.
Dorothy Kalaya (Mrs)
7th May, 2004